Meet Denny and the Dreamers, a fledgling doo-wop singing group preparing to enter the Big Whopper Radio contest to realize their dreams of making it to the big time! Trouble comes in the form of Lois, who arrives to put some polish on the boys. Denny falls in love, Wally falls in line, Eugene falls apart, and along comes handsome heartthrob Duke to send the whole situation spinning. The '60s hits say it all: “Fools Fall in Love,” “Tears on my Pillow,” “Runaround Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “Stay,” “Unchained Melody,” “Lonely Teardrops,” and “The Glory of Love.” Winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Best Musical Award, Life Could Be a Dream will leave you laughing, singing, and cheering— let’s hear it for the boys!
Denny and Eugene are rehearsing for the “Dream of a Lifetime” Talent Search (“Sh-Boom [Life Could Be a Dream]”), hosted by Big Whopper Radio. Denny, a former Crooning Crab Cake in the Springfield High School Glee Club, grabs the spotlight as Eugene struggles to keep up with him. They rehearse in Denny’s basement, and it becomes clear when their friend Wally arrives that Denny’s mother is ready for him to grow up and move out (“Get a Job”). Wally joins the singing group and suggests they ask if Big Stuff Auto will sponsor them in the contest. Denny’s mother Mrs. Varney (who we only see from the knees down on the staircase entrance to the basement, and is voiced live off-stage by the actor portraying Lois) tells the boys to keep the noise down, but no one can stifle these boys and their musical ambitions (“Mama Don't Allow It”). The next night the boys are anxiously awaiting their audition for “Big” Earl, the owner of Big Stuff Auto, when head-mechanic Duke shows up instead. Trouble comes in the form of Lois, “Big” Earl’s daughter, who shows up to help Duke evaluate the group, but who also broke Eugene’s heart many years before. Eugene works through his pain as the boys audition (“Tears on my Pillow”). Lois likes the boys, but thinks they need to add a fourth member to become a proper doo-wop quartet. After hearing Duke sing (“Fools Fall in Love”), the boys welcome him into the group and Lois realizes her budding romantic feelings for him. As the newly formed quartet rehearses, Denny struggles with Duke singing lead (“Runaround Sue”). Lois tries to add polish to the rough edges of their act (“Lonely Teardrops”), triggering Wally, Eugene, and Denny to fantasize about their love for her (“Lovin' Lois Medley: Devil or Angel/Earth Angel/Only You”). Little do the boys realize that Lois has fallen hard for Duke (“I Only Have Eyes for You”), and she surprises him with a kiss. Duke is startled and runs off, leaving the boys oblivious to the unfolding drama, begging Lois to stay and rehearse with them (“Stay”). The next night, Denny, Wally, and Eugene rehearse while imagining themselves with Lois (“[Just Like] Romeo and Juliet”), when Duke arrives to offer the guys some advice about girls and love in general (“A Sunday Kind of Love”). When Lois arrives, it’s clear that much has happened offstage, and Duke quits the group and runs out. Lois tells the boys that she told her parents she was in love with Duke, and then her father fired Duke from the Auto Shop. Lois laments her unrequited love in one of the greatest love songs of all time (“Unchained Melody”).
The next day, the boys show Lois they can still perform without Duke (“Dreamin’”), but Lois is unsure. They implore Lois to go after Duke and bring him back (“Easier Said Than Done”). They thank her for helping them improve as a group (“The Magic Touch”), which helps Lois decide to go find Duke and bring him back for the sake of the group and her own happiness (“Lonely Teardrops Reprise”). The next morning (“Buzz Buzz Buzz”) Duke returns just in time to sing for the contest. The boys have since learned a little about love themselves, and help Duke realize some important lessons (“The Glory of Love”). Lois arrives, and Duke is prompted by the boys to finally reveal his love for her (“Duke of Earl”). The rip-roaring finale sequence features Denny & The Dreamers returning from their triumphant world tour (“Pretty Little Angel Eyes”), and our talented quartet becomes a quintet as Lois joins them onstage in a doo-wop finale extravaganza (“Do You Love Me?/The Twist,” “Rama Lama Ding Dong,” “Unchained Melody”). All ends happily in this musical that will leave you laughing, singing, and cheering in the aisles— let’s hear it for the boys!
Critic’s Pick! Dream is so frothy, it floats.
–Los Angeles Times
Denny Varney (Vocal Range: Tenor C3–Ab 4; Falsetto to D5)
Five years after high school graduation, Denny still lives with his mother, goofing off in the family basement instead of working for a living. Denny’s lack of ambition and discipline have always been his downfall, but the new WOPR Radio “Dream of a Lifetime Talent Search” has put new wind in his sails. He uses his talents as a former Crooning Crabcake (the Glee Club at Springfield High) to first create a duo, then a trio, and finally a quartet to help find the unique doo-wop sound (and backer’s money) he needs to bring his dream to reality. Jealousy rears its head when the final member of the group unintentionally steals Denny’s spotlight. Can Denny still lead the group to a win? Will he still be able to attract the ladies in the spotlight? Stay tuned…
Eugene Johnson (Vocal Range: Tenor C3–A4; Falsetto to A5)
Denny’s best friend and co-conspirator, Eugene works hard just to stay in step with Denny’s fast-moving schemes. During most days, Eugene works for his dad down at the Springfield Sweet Shop, but at night he cuts loose with his fellow Crooning Crabcakes during singing and dancing practice in Denny’s basement. The entrance of an old grade-school crush, Lois, threatens to derail all attempts at winning the radio contest, and Eugene has to work twice as hard as the others to keep his mind in the game. Does he have a shot at winning the girl back? Can he possibly become a functioning member of the all singing, all-dancing Dream group? Stay tuned…
Wally Patton (Vocal Range: Bass/Baritone F2–G4; Falsetto to D5)
A checker at the Piggly-Wiggly, and older brother to bad-boy Billy Ray (from The Marvelous Wonderettes), Wally is the son of a preacher who truly becomes the heart and soul of the group. He’s desperate to be a part of the group, because inclusion seems better than exclusion. Still a youngster himself, often childish, he does have an uncanny knack for seeing what’s important in life when the going gets tough. But that doesn’t mean he’s not immune to a full-on crush when Eugene’s grade-school sweetheart comes into the picture. Does Wally have a shot at the girl? Will the fight over Lois create a rift too wide to repair? Stay tuned…
Duke Henderson (Vocal Range: Bass/Baritone Ab 2–G4; Falsetto to Eb 5)
The last add-on to our singing group, Duke is the new guy from the wrong side of the tracks, and a natural singing whiz. He works for Big Stuff Auto, the new sponsor of the group, and Duke is added to Denny’s fledgling group to turn it into a proper quartet. Duke is definitely the new alpha male, and Denny feels pushed aside and ignored for the seemingly brighter talents Duke brings to the table. Duke is also conflicted about falling in love with the boss’s daughter, Lois, the girl that Eugene and Wally are already fighting over. Could he ever possibly fit into her family? Will Duke's bad-boy attitude break up the group’s chance to win the big contest? Stay tuned…
Lois Franklin (Vocal Range: G3–F5)
Daughter of “Big Eddie” Franklin, owner of Big Stuff Auto, and herself a former song leader at Springfield High, Lois arrives on the scene to help shape the boys into a real singing and dancing group. Going against her father’s advice, she decides to give his sponsorship money to the fledgling singing group, and in doing so falls head-over-heels in love with bad-boy Duke. Lois’ parents refuse to allow their daughter to date the grease monkey from their auto shop, and the fireworks that ensue threaten to destroy the whole enterprise. Will Lois get the guy? Which guy? Can she be the super-glue that holds the whole group together? Stay tuned…
Mrs. Varney – Denny’s offstage mother. Played by actress portraying Lois.
“Bullseye” Miller – Radio DJ.
Setting: Denny’s Basement, 1960.
Performance Royalties are based on theater particulars. Please fill out an application for a personalized quote.
Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement. To download the show rider for Life Could Be A Dream, click here.
“Critic’s Pick! Roger Bean outdoes his own winning formula! Unapologetically escapist entertainment, superbly rendered in every particular. Dream is so frothy, it floats.” –Los Angeles Times
“The title neatly sums up the euphoric charge generated by this feel-good musical.” –Backstage
“Go! Spectacular! Affectionate and clever— a rousing good-time musical!” –Los Angeles Weekly
“Dream is pure nostalgia. A doo-wopper's delight!” –Calgary Sun
Materials: Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date and will include everything necessary for your production. They can be ordered in Printed or Digital format. Printed Materials are provided on unbound three-hole punched loose-leaf paper while Digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.
The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for Life Could Be A Dream includes: